I know I’ve said this before, but I just had a long talk with a brilliant young entrepreneur in a bad situation, and I want to say it again:

Getting your new business financed is not necessarily a good thing. It’s not the obvious goal. Getting investment, by itself, is not a win.

No. Investment is a good thing for a startup only if it’s the right investment, with the right partners. Investors are not just money, they’re the people that own the money. They become your partners. Yes, like spouses.

This is important: You’re much better off with no investment than with incompatible investment. Incompatible investors is as bad a situation as incompatible spouses. Bootstrap if you have to. Cut your plan down, if that’s what it takes; make it smaller, focus more.  The wrong investors have killed companies more painfully than no investors at all.

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Tim BerryTim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.